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HER Number:MDV8439
Name:Prestonbury Castle Hillfort


Towering above fingle bridge to the east, on the end of a ridge, is Prestonbury Castle, one of the best of the iron age hillforts that ring the edge of Dartmoor.


Grid Reference:SX 747 901
Map Sheet:SX79SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDrewsteignton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishDREWSTEIGNTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX79SW/2
  • Old SAM County Ref: 151
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1142.

Vis=31/8/1993 (taylor) area under rough pasture at present. Inner enclosure c.170m x c.125m; inner rampart 0.5-1m high on inside, 2-2.5m on outside, bank largely coursed with bracken. Middle rampart is low on uphill side (less than 1m) and c.2m high on outside; near entrance this is more pronounced. Outer rampart c.120m further out on e side, with an inturned entrance to ne. For part of length, on e side, it is up to 10m broad and appears to have a bank on inner and outer edges, with slight depression between. No visible remains of a barrow, ring cairn or any other structures (worksheet).

QUINNELL, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1356.

Vis=-/-/1982 (quinnell) earthworks resurveyed. Copy of drawing at 1:1250 in smr.

Woollcombe, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV159073.

Vis=-/-/1836 and 19/8/1840 (woollcombe) enclosure of c.25 acres, two ramparts on west side. Barrow on east side. Plan in ms.

Wilkinson, J. G., Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV214449.

Vis=18/4/1953 (os) position is a defensive one, though the lack of an outer ditch to each rampart is an unusual feature. The area is turf and bracken covered and no evidence of internal inhabitation was to be seen. Wilkinson notes that the entrances through the three lines of defence are set obliquely to each other to baffle attack. The exterior areas were not only defensive in purpose, but also used for corralling stock (wilkinson).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224730.

Towering above fingle bridge to the east, on the end of a ridge, is prestonbury castle, one of the best of the iron age hillforts that ring the edge of dartmoor.

Ancient Monuments, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV224731.

Vis=estimated -/-/1958 (ancient monuments) a multivallate hillfort of south-western type, with three wide-spaced lines of defence. It is sighted on a bluff above the river teign, at its junction with a lateral stream at fingle bridge. The river is here running in a gorge which forms natural defences to south and west. The inner zone is an oval defended by a small single rampart, dug from inside. The second zone is defended by a rampart and ditch, is appended from it on the east side, and extends for 76.20m, the junction on the north-west side is unfinished. These two enclosures have simple entrances in a line on the east side. The third zone, 137m away, is defended by a strong rampart and ditch, 9m on scarp, drawn across the neck of the promontory and fading out on either side as it curves round to the steep slopes. There is a deep inturned entrance facing north-east in the direction of preston farm. Water supplied by a spring. The outermost enclosure looks like an addition to the fort. Condition is good; the land is rough, covered with bracken, gorse etc.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224737.

Rowe, s. /perambulation of dartmoor/(1896)66.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224738.

Page, w. /victoria county history of devon/1(1906)595/plan.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224739.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1964)390.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224740.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224741.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224742.

Baring-gould, s. /book of dartmoor/(1900)98.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224743.

Pearce, s. M. /pdas/37(1979)144/the distribution and production of bronze age metalwork.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224744.

Wilkinson, j. G. /jbaa/18(1862)125-126 pl/on british remains at dartmoor.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224745.

Fox, a. /arch j. /109(1952)10.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224746.

Forde-johnson, j. /arch j. /119(1962)78.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224747.

Des=survey drawing 1982 in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224748.

Pilkington-rogers, c. W. /tda/64(1932)384 map/the date of the dartmoor antiquities.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224749.

Aph=dcc cons 593/20-21(2/12/1983)in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224750.

Des=woollcombe ms(1840s) in d + e inst.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224751.

Aph=nmr sx7490/3(17/10/1973).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224752.

Aph=nmr sf1746/312(21/4/1980).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224753.

Aph=dap/ca 4(13/7/1984).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224754.

Aph=dap/di 11(26/7/1984).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224755.

Aph=dap/eo 7,8(17/3/1985).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224756.

Aph=cuc/mh 23-4,26-7(5/7/1953).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224757.

Aph=cuc/qe 87-8(26/6/1955).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224758.

Aph=cuc/anm 21-2(28/4/1966)/anm 21-2 in smr.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224759.

Aph=cuc/cmc 81(4/6/1980).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224760.

Aph=cuc/cmd 4-7(4/6/1980)/cmd 7 in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224761.

Fox, a. /prehistoric hillforts in devon/(1996)47-8.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224762.

Des=worksheet(taylor, d. )/(aug 1993).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224763.

Aph=dap/sd 8,9,10(27/6/1990).

The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Unit, 1985, The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV340940.

Ramparts of Prestonbury Castle hillfort visible on slopes east of Drewston Common.

Fox, A., 1996, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon (DNPA Copy), 47 (Monograph). SDV360402.

Cartographic Engineering, 2006, Dartmoor 2006 1:1250 Aerial Photography (digital) (Aerial Photograph). SDV345590.

Ramparts visible on aerial photograph.

Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M., 2011, In the Footsteps of Pioneering Women; Some Recent Work on Devon Hillforts (Article in Serial). SDV361500.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Ralston, I. + Lock, G., 2017, Atlas of Hillforts (Website). SDV360888.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1142Migrated Record:
SDV1356Migrated Record: QUINNELL.
SDV159073Migrated Record: Woollcombe.
SDV214449Report - Survey: Wilkinson, J. G..
SDV224730Migrated Record:
SDV224731Report - Survey: Ancient Monuments.
SDV224737Migrated Record:
SDV224738Migrated Record:
SDV224739Migrated Record:
SDV224740Aerial Photograph:
SDV224741Migrated Record:
SDV224742Migrated Record:
SDV224743Migrated Record:
SDV224744Migrated Record:
SDV224745Migrated Record:
SDV224746Migrated Record:
SDV224747Migrated Record:
SDV224748Migrated Record:
SDV224749Aerial Photograph:
SDV224750Migrated Record:
SDV224751Aerial Photograph:
SDV224752Aerial Photograph:
SDV224753Aerial Photograph:
SDV224754Aerial Photograph:
SDV224755Aerial Photograph:
SDV224756Aerial Photograph:
SDV224757Aerial Photograph:
SDV224758Aerial Photograph:
SDV224759Aerial Photograph:
SDV224760Aerial Photograph:
SDV224761Migrated Record:
SDV224762Migrated Record:
SDV224763Aerial Photograph:
SDV340940Interpretation: The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Unit. 1985. The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Project. The Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England Aerial Photograph Project. Map (Paper).
SDV345590Aerial Photograph: Cartographic Engineering. 2006. Dartmoor 2006 1:1250 Aerial Photography (digital). Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #108464 ]
SDV360402Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon (DNPA Copy). Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Paperback Volume. 47.
SDV360888Website: Ralston, I. + Lock, G.. 2017. Atlas of Hillforts. https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/. Website.
SDV361500Article in Serial: Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M.. 2011. In the Footsteps of Pioneering Women; Some Recent Work on Devon Hillforts. British Archaeological Reports. 548. Paperback Volume.

Associated Monuments

MDV26751Parent of: Earthwork bank, Prestonbury Castle (Monument)
MDV30504Related to: Circular Crop Mark within Prestonbury Castle (Monument)
MDV26743Related to: Hut circle north of Prestonbury Castle, Drewsteignton (Monument)
MDV26740Related to: Lost field boundaries south and east of Preston, Drewsteignton (Monument)
MDV119672Related to: Preston Farm, Drewsteignton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 28 2018 11:24AM